Alex Holden (alex_holden) wrote,
Alex Holden
alex_holden

What's she gonna look like with a chimney on her?

The local farmer (who was born in wibble_puppy's house) told us he thought there used to be a small fireplace in the bedroom that I've been sleeping in. We couldn't work out how because the wall of the bedroom is about five feet in from the outer wall of the house, and there didn't look to be enough space for a second flue in the massive weirdly-shaped block of stone and brick masonry above the big inglenook fireplace in the living room. It remained a mystery until a builder went up on the roof yesterday and peered down the top of the chimney. There is a second flue (albeit filled with rubble), he said.

This is significant, not because it would be particularly nice or useful to have an open fire in that bedroom, but because there is a possibility he might be able to feed the Rayburn flue (in the form of a flexible stainless steel tube) into that fireplace's flue through a hole that he would knock through the other side of the house wall inside the loft space of the lean-to kitchen. The current Rayburn flue setup is a temporary bodge just to get it working until something better could be installed: it's a rigid pipe through the wall into the living room inglenook fireplace, then a flexible flue up that fireplace's masonry flue. It's not good because both the open fire and the Rayburn are sharing the same flue, and it's been badly bodged together in a way that means neither can be swept properly. The plan thus far has been to run a straight rigid stainless flue from the Rayburn up through the roof of the kitchen and strap it to the outside of the masonry chimney (it has to exit at the same height I believe), which would be neither visually appealing nor cheap.

So we peered closely at the wall in the kitchen loft, the inside of the living room chimney, the top of the chimney in the main loft, and the wall of the small bedroom. We wondered briefly what to do while searching for a big hammer and chisels. See the curious rectangular stain on the bedroom wall:


A bit later it looked like this:


And then like this:

Unfortunately it appears to have been deliberately back-filled with rubble (including full bricks) and many buckets of sooty crap.

Here's what it currently looks like inside:

It slopes steeply up and back for quite a distance before it reaches the straight-up part. I haven't actually reached sky yet - there seems to be more rubble jammed further up that I can't dislodge from the bottom. Later this morning I want to go up on the roof and see if I can clear the rest of it from the top down.

I had been sleeping in a cosy little room with a comfy bed, which I had vacuumed again only yesterday morning (to get rid of the rubble from when the window opening was repaired). Last night the bed looked like this:


So after turning the bath water black, I moved down to the sofa bed in the living room, which is currently slightly better-ventilated than usual:

(no, there are no glass windows in that wall! ;) Incidentally, the structure on the left of that picture with the cast iron door is an old bread oven set into one side of the inglenook (which would at one time have contained a range cooker). Apparently you built a hot fire of thin sticks in it, then raked the embers out and baked bread in it using the residual heat of the masonry.
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